Title: Independent reformer
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Title: Independent reformer
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: Independent Publishing Company (of Belize) Ltd.
Place of Publication: Belize City, Belize
Publication Date: February 2, 2007
Copyright Date: 2006
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GOB's


Rake


p


Scrape


Energy


Policy


Last week the government announced
itwas lowering pump prices by a shilling.
What they didn't tell you was they were
simultaneously raising the tax you pay for
that fuel.
They do it all the time. Whether acqui-
sition prices go up, or down, worldwide.
Jump high, jump low they pump us some
more. We see on international news where
oil has gone from $70 to $50 abarrel over
the past few months. Have you seen a
maj or drop in your expenditure at the gas
station? I didn't think so. Please don't
force me tell the pol-lies where to put that
shilling....
Belize has what is the clearly the undis-
puted highest rate of energy taxes in the
entire western hemisphere. And we are
supposedly an oil producing and self suf-
ficient power generation country. But,
where are the revenues from that oil we
export? Government has not collected a
penny from the exporters who extract our
hydrocarbons; yet, we tax imported hy-


drocarbons in excess of 250% up front.
They are supposed to tax the extractors
at 40% of a very flexible net revenue rate
while imports are taxed on their CIF gross
value. Yet instead they take 250% offthe


Belize 0il -


by Des Parrett
Following some excitement over a
previous article on oil in Belize, (Friday
January 19t' edition) INdependent Re-
former Weekly spoke with Spanish
Lookout oil consultant Jim Cavanaugh.
We met at his home and noted he has
four computers on desks around the
room and charts, degrees, certificates
and documents on the walls, and in neat
piles on chairs and filing cabinets. He
obviously lives with his work.
IW. How was it possible for a small
company like Belize Natural Energy to
discover oil in Belize?
JC. "Let's get the perceptions cor-
rect. BNE did NOT discover oil in
Belize. They discovered a new field
at Spanish Lookout. We have known
for many years that there was oil here
in Belize."
IW. But I understood that there were
50 dry holes before the BNE discov-
ery.
JC. "That is not true. They were


NOTall "dry" holes; some did indeed
have oil, but could not be produced
profitably. A number of wells were
drilled near Belmopan years ago that
found oil. With low oilprices, and no
oil infrastructure, it was not economi-
cal to produce them, so they were shut
in, but they are still there and so is
the oil. These wells clearly established
that we had oil in Belize. "
IW. Isn't it unusual though for a small
oil company like BNE to drill in a re-
mote place like Belize?
JC. "More than unusual. It was due
to the excellent geology studies of
Susan Morrice plus tremendous cour-
age on the part of the company in-
vestors to tackle such a high risk
wildcat. Many of us petroleum ge-
ologists were taking "vacations" to
Belize checking oil prospects right
after the OPEC oil embargo in 1972-
73 when oil shot up to $40 a barrel. I
came here n iithARCO and there were
also geologists from Marathon, Gulf,


Belizean consumer!.
There is layer upon layer of taxes, fees,
and commissions on imported fuels: RRD,
import duty,environmental tax, distribution
tax, safety fees, storage fees, and about
three layers of government price-con-
trolled commissions based on a less than
transparent formula. The formula is ad-
justed every time a new shipment comes
in too with a new law called a statutory
instrument or SI that no one ever gets to
see. We tried repeatedly.
Belize imports approximately 11 million
gallons of regular gasoline a year and is
currently paying the importer $3.62 BZ
dollars a gallon (or US $1.81 a gallon).
Bizarrely, prices at the pump after the vari-
ous layers oftaxes is awhopping BZ$9.33
a gallon (or is US $4.665)! That's almost
three times the acquisition cost in de facto
consumption taxes. Why?
The rich people of Belize have all sorts
ofavenuesto avoidthe excessive fuel taxes:
free zones qualification (the green places
on their SUV's), honorary consuls (red



or Bane

Phillips, Anschutz and others check-
ing out the oilpotential. We had our
chance but our companies did not
have the courage or conviction to
drill. In their defense, though, the
economics were pretty borderline as
the price of oil dropped steadily to
under $10. The key factor is that
major oil companies lost interest
while Susan Morrice didn 't. "
IW How did BNE know where the
oil was?
JC. "They didn 't. There is no tech-
nology that tells us WHERE the oil
is, only where it might be. BNE used
seismic studies to identify structures
in the subsurface that could possibly
store oil if it were present. They
drilled on one of these structures and
the result was a Cinderella story of
success. It wasn 't due to a Fairy
Godmother though, it was due to
good geology c wiqle, / i i/th intelligent
use of complex petroleum technol-
(Please Turn To Page 13) ~


places), non-resident Belize ambassadors
to far away places, statutory boards (yel-
low places, including Lucas' port-o-let),
special epz's to the favorite few, and de-
velopment concessions to the other folks
including the airport. No, the treasury-
raiders pay no taxes on fuels, no import
duty, no taxes on their containers-in
some cases no taxes period. These preda-
tors get government to pay and protect
them at the same time, in return they find
ways to channel resources to the minis-
ters' private collection agencies.
Despite their sins, they and their col-
laborators remain in a state of grace, if the
long lines receiving communion at Mass
are any indication. They also have the au-
dacitytoannounce "poverty alleviation strat-
egies" while pumping the poor and middle
class for all they are worth when they try to
fill their car, boat orridethebus ortake ataxi.
Yes, GOB, in case you have not noticed,
the beggars on the streetyoujustdeignedto
give wali shilling to, are taxi drivers, fisher
folk, bus riders, the small family businesses,
(Please Turn To Page 16) M W

Inside this Issue


How Stupid Can
We Be? PART II
pg 3


Dis Da Fu We...
Addiction
pg.4


Slash and Burn
pg. 5


World of Riches
pg. 7








Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 2


Editorial Director


Meb Cullack




Editor


Karla Heusner Vernon




General Manager


Trevor Vernon




DesignALayout


William G. Ysaguirrre


Published by:


Independent Publishing


P 0. Box 2666


Telephones:


(501) 225-3520
CompanyLtd.
Email:
Belize C.A.
hudWendentn0AWpff.LZkWaWcom


Printed by:

National PHnters
New Road
Belize City, Belize












For an online version of the

INdependent Reformer

visit us at
httn://v,,N.belizenorth.com/
independentreformer.htm
OR
httn:/Ibelizenews.com/
independentonline.nd


Ss*v, M ee 'Otnor


At the Crossroads!
Dear Editor,
The signed May 31st 2006 Invest-
ment Agreement selling 46.59% of the
Grower's wholly owned assets in CPBL
(Citrus Products of Belize Ltd.) to a
Strategic Investor BWPL (Blue Waters)
is at the heart of a controversy. This is-
sue has to come to a head.
The Committee of Management of the
Citrus Growers Association (CGA) are
the architects of this crisis themselves:
rather than convene a Special General
meeting to inform citrus growers as to
the details of the Investment Agreement
signed, the CGA Committee of Man-
agement chose instead to use such an
occasion to oust a sitting Director, Denzil
Jenkins.
Grower's instructions for the Com-
mittee of Five to oversee the process
of incorporating recommendations into
a supplementary agreement were ig-
nored.
These epic failures in procedure are
among others and could rightly be de-
scribed as corporate arrogance in this
whole affair. However, the CGACom-
mittee was duly authorized to act by its
membership. to second guess this in-
struction is now secondary to this fact.
Notwithstanding, these actions have
eroded CGA's moral authority to gov-
ern.
The industry is at a crossroads! It re-
quires logical and rational reasoning to
determine how best to proceed from
this juncture.
To pursue an agenda at this stage
seeking "to set aside" the May 31st
2006 Investment Agreement will, in my
opinion, move the citrus industry from
confusion to chaos. I will not partici-
pate in this. I stand by the recommen-
dations of the Committee of Five and


W YES!


believe all recommendations should be
executed in its purest form by a newly
elected Committee of Management.
The signed supplementary needs to be
verified; CPBL must submit its value
added plan and the principle of 51%
control must be firmly established.
The fact is that some members of the
Committee of Management participated
in procedural wrongdoing. These per-
sons are Messers. Raymond, Bowman,
Scott, Polack, Donnard and Willacy.
Others are accused of pursuing a hid-
den agenda; Denzil suggested at the last
AGM that growers would be better off
selling 100% of CPBL for $20 million
dollars so why the issue now of 51%
for $25 million. In order to clear the air
of all these perceptions, all Directors
of CGA Committee should agree to
compromise and resign and seek to re-
new the trust and credibility of the grow-
ers. Let the industry find a way to wash
itself with the transparency of a fresh
mandate to govern and deal with the is-
sues; real or perceived.
We must encourage our strategic in-
vestors to continue to act in good faith
and harmonize this partnership. They
have, after all, agreed to amend a signed
document. CGA must demonstrate and
educate the membership to the eco-
nomic benefits of this arrangement.
The citrus industry needs to be able
to take full advantage of current high
world market prices, benefit growers
and gamer desperate foreign exchange
for our country. It cannot do so in a
hostile and heightened environment of
uncertainty that could damage our mar-
kets.
The current Committee of Manage-
ment has the responsibility to exhaust
the process of dialogue and manage the
situation. It is unreasonable and not ra-
tional to attempt to convene a Special


General meeting and an Annual Gen-
eral meeting on the same day. This is
without precedent and can only be con-
sidered frivolous and not in the best in-
terest of seeking a solution to ending the
controversy.
The Machiavellian theory speaks to
the importance of the end game. At this
juncture, we must choose to put the best
interest of our citrus industry first and
foremost. To do otherwise is to put it
on a course whereby this 93 year old
industry as we know it to exist today,
will self-destruct. Perhaps it is time for
those ofus in the old guard to step back,
and allow some of the bright, fresh
minds clearly evident within the rank and
file of CGA's membership, to step up
and be allowed to make their contribu-
tion.
This process must be guided by fruits
of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5-22) and to
not rely on the shallowness of our wis-
dom as the flesh is too anxious to prac-
tice strife, jealousy, and outburst of an-
ger, disputes, dissensions, envy, factions
and discord.
I appeal to the Committee of Man-
agement to work with the petitioners of
the Special AGM and agree on the oc-
casion of our Annual General meeting
and not confuse the two.
Sincerely,
Anthony Chanona JP
Citrus Grower

Conflict of interest at
the Bar
Dear Editor,
I find it laughable that the Bar Asso-
ciation was recently used as a good ex-
ample of a self-policing regime. I have
personal knowledge of one instance
where a MAJOR Belize City law firm
was representing an individual facing
(Please Turn To Page 15) m ,


independendent.newspaper.bz@gmail.com
P.O. Box 2(666
Bclic Ciit. Beli/c
Send me 6 months of the INdependent Reformer for as little as
BZ$30 00 (S$30.00 )(international)


1 1 '11. I P I

.itlit

t-SIii. W.

I m -iii tilit


E-1 Lill lll E-1


!.-I IIb IIj.II..II lild 111,11 1 .11' 1.-1 i),11 ..








Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 3


Stupid


Can


BeP


PART H
(Continued from last week)
By Cornelius Dueck,
Chairman,
National Reform Party
The UDP and the PUP are no differ-
ent from each other, except that one is
in power, raking it in; and the other one
is expecting to get in power to rake it
in. Neither one have proved to be good
to us, to their native country.
The following explanation is a verifi-
able truth, down to the penny. It is an
example of how bad this deal is, and
how secretive they both (the PUP and
the UDP) have kept it from all of us.
But no longer, the NRP is hereby dis-
closing the real deal:
This loan is being sold to us as a new
loan to pay back some of the old
money. There is no room to use any of
this money to invest anywhere for the
Benefit of Belize. We are at the end of
our rope!
The US$565 Million is to be used
only to pay off interest owed for just
part of the previous loans, and to buy
back principal ofUS$ $516 Million for
some of the previous low-interest loans.
Basically refinancing less than one half
of our total debt, but sinking all of us
into a debt for the tune of US $ 1.305
BILLION.
The fact is that Musa is buying back
less than half our debt for almost three
times as much. Of course, the pay-
ments for the first few years will be very
affordable, but he is throwing us from
poverty to perpetual misery, and the
UDP is perfectly fine with it!
Clearly, you can see that Musa is bor-
rowing, on our behalf, a lot of money,
at much higher interest rates,to pay off
lower interest loans. This will soon bring
about a "state of public emergency"
blatantly violating the "protection of the
fundamental rights and freedoms" as set
forth in our Constitution... And the
UDP is perfectly fine with it!
On the surface, it appears that the in-
terest rates for this new loan are ad-
vantageous to Belize, but not so!
While during the first ten years we
have to pay just interest, we will pay at
least US$ 488 Million in interest alone
and we will still owe the entire US$565
Million.
As you can read in the chart (avail-
able at www.nationalreformparty.com)
the first interest payment will be due on
the 20th of August of this year and it
will be only for US $ 12 Million. We
need to make a payment every six
months. Then, on February 20, 2009,
the interest payment goes up to US $
16 Million every six months, and up
again on February 20, 2012 to US $
24 Million, until August 20, 2019. So
far, we would have paid the US $ 488
Million, and we still owe the entirety of


the US $565 Million. If you follow the
chart, you will realize that onAugust 20,
2019, the payment jumps up to US
$52.2 Million, and goes down to the
end of the loan for a final payment of
US$ 29.5 Million.
We would have paid US $ 740.15
Million in interest. When you add the
interest and principal payments for this
loan, it amounts to a total of US
$1,305,150,000; this is well over US$
1.3 BILLION... and the UDP is per-
fectly fine with it!
Any way you look at it, we will be
paying more than BZ $ 2.6 BILLION


for this new loan that will not provide
us with any benefit or relief whatsoever.
Musa pretends us to pay back his be-
trayal to the country by taking out of
our pockets Bz $ 52 per month per
every man, woman and child, from now
until February 20, 2029. If you have a
family of 5, your load will be about Bz
$ 518 per month! This is the madness
of Musa and his team... They left cor-
ruption far behind, they are now in to
the level ofhigh treason... And theUDP
is perfectly fine with it!
We have witnessed many times in the
previous administrations, whether UDP
or PUP, that they soon become em-
ployees for foreign interests, they turn
into exclusive agents for the bankers and
their friends to rape Belize. Both, the
PUP and the UDP have offered nothing
tangible to rescue the country from our
increasing poverty, deep ignorance, le-
thargic attitude, and worst of all, they
have neglected to respect us as indi-
viduals as well as the people for whom
they work.
As corruption requires a lengthy in-


vestigative process, Musa and his team
shall be held accountable for all their
criminal negligence toward our coun-
try and charged with treason, not cor-
ruption.
Currently the Belizean Bonds are
traded at around 50 cents on the dollar,
that is at about half their original price,
but Musa wants to buy them back pay-
ing more than twice their market price.
On the Bond Exchange chart, you can
read the details of the bonds that Musa
intends to purchase back at their full
price. Adding insult to injury, Musa and
his "friends" are giving ourmoney away,


as cash incentives, to lure the brokers,
advisor, and consultants to take the deal
as if this deal would be detrimental to
them. The net increase in our current
debt is US $ 35.9 Million, and while
Musa tries to sell us big savings, he is
giving away US $ 50.7 Million in cash
incentives and commissions. This is un-
acceptable! ... And the UDP is per-
fectly fine with it!
Musa could care less, he will be out
to pasture in 2008, leaving Belize in the
dark ages, poorer than before, without
hope or a chance to recover, ill and
sick, ignorant and surrendered to his
greed, plainly said: in deep misery. This
will be his legacy and that of his team...
and all the people working for him will
be left with a dirty and turbid con-
science for generations to come.
Musa, as Prime Minister and as an
individual, and his friends in power,
along with the foreign bankers and
creditors not only continuously insult our
intelligence but have placed Belize, and
its noble people, at the top of the list of
the stupidest people in the world. Musa


has taken us back to slavery, but of the
modem kind, slaves to the creditors...
and the UDP is perfectly fine with it!
The entire parliament and the media
in Belize, and those who have written
many times about this issue, have based
their facts only on bits and pieces of
confusing information released by the
GOB. The GOB would never release
the level of information the NRP is re-
leasing, because anyone with a simple
calculator would discover how bad of
a deal this one is. The UDP has neither
the brains nor the will to understand or
to analyze this deal as we have done,
much less to care about it.
For the first time, the parliament, the
Belizean people, as well as all the me-
dia in Belize, can read the actual facts,
figures, and the terms and conditions of
the US $ 565 Million bond issue. With
great pride we, the NRP, bring this to
you, for the benefit of us all. Dubious
and shady business-dealings by our
Government has to stop. We must, to-
gether, make it stop and reverse the di-
rection in which Musa and his cronies,
and the UDP have lead Belize in the past
eight years!
I am basing this writing on facts and
figures never before available to any-
one in Belize, to individuals or even to
our Parliament. These figures are only
disclosed by Musa's bankers to their
investors and bondholders, to benefit
them in detriment of Belize... And the
UDP is perfectly fine with it!
The entirety of the bond issue in the
official Offering Memorandum can be
read or downloaded from our official
information web site at
www.nationalreformparty.com.
The NRP is committed to fully dis-
close any and all transactions during its
administration. The insults have got to
stop. The Belizean people shall be
treated with respect, and from now
own, we need to hold the administra-
tions accountable for everything they
do.


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Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 4


Dils D Fu


- addiction


By: Karla Heusner Vernon
My windshield wipers are working
overtime in the pouring rain and the de-
froster is on high. I glance at the clock
on the dashboard: 10:30 pm. Defying
all reason, I have left the comfort of my
warm, dry home to drive ten miles of
the darkest, most treacherous strip of
road in all of Belize.
I know the possibility of death is real:
I have passed more than one potential
murderer already. They drive, not with
due care and attention to your head-
lights, but veer unexpectedly, even ag-
gressively, into your lane in a futile at-
tempt to avoid portions of the highway
which has broken off and floated down-
stream or mysteriously sunk from view
taking-it is rumored-a number of
compact cars and motor scooters with
it.
I know the odds of damage to life and
rim are high, as high as the crackheads
who will greet me at my destination... yet
I press on..
I have to. I have to get my fix.


Good, they are still open. I pull up to
the curb and approach the window. The
proprietor peers out suspiciously
through the bars. I put my money on
the counter and lean forward so only
she can hear, "Five dollar chicken,
breast. Catsup on the side."
She looks at me, the slightest hint of
sorrow in her eves. I can see her own


family at a table in the background.
They wield their chopsticks with dex-
terity, quickly and efficiently picking up
morsels of steamed rice and a green
stringy vegetable of some sort. If there
is meat or chicken or fish on the table, I


can't see it. The whole family is slim
and healthy looking. They're probably
drinking anti-oxidant green tea to spite
me.
I order a soft drink, the non-diet kind,
just to be defiant.
I get back in the car and head up the
road, tugging at the plastic bag with one
hand to try and free the food. The heat


of the contents radiates from the
styrofoam container onto my lap.
I fumble in the dark, trying to get at
the food without getting catsup on my
clothing- give myself away when I get
home. With luck, the family will be


asleep and never know, or even sus-
pect, what I had done.
Damn, I hope there are some baby
wipes in the glove compartment; the
grease on my hands might affect my
control of the car. Images of the acci-
dent scene flash before me, the news
report: "An open container of chicken
was found in the front seat, the food ap-
parently scattered on impact."
Reaching down with one hand, I rip
off a piece of breast meat and raise it to
my mouth. The crispy skin crunches al-
most audibly. Gosh I love skin. I know
I am not alone. A man ahead of me in
line once ordered "Five dolla skin! Lotta
peppa!"
At least I have not reached that point
of no return. When not even the chicken
turns you on, just the outer covering.
Don't get me wrong, like so many
Belizeans, perhaps even some of you
reading this, I have tried to quit. Go cold
turkey. Or even eat turkey instead of
chicken. Make a healthy choice by or-
(Please Turn To Page 13) EJ"


--z-












wMinista! Wid village council elections deh come, dey piple out ya dun deh beg fi dey blu note already, so"
"Ah like dem begin, but let's call them mendicants, not beggars"








Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 5


Gut


tilamsba


By: Trevor Vernon

I am moti-
vated to write in
support of
"Belize's Family
Farms" but want
to make it pain-
fully clear that,
in this global-
ized world, I do
not wish to advocate for the death
of the ADMs of the world... the
"supermarkets of the world" among
us. There is a need for both "family
farming" and mechanized farming. It
is government's role to strike that
not-so-delicate balance and our
role, as citizens, to become advo-
cates of it.
I learned a little about "slash &
burn" farming, as it were, from Brit-
ish textbooks at St Mary's Primary
in Belize City. Only, the clear infer-
ence was that this practice was less
than noble. For the longest time I
couldn't bridge the gap and iden-
tify with this traditional practice.
You see, farming hasn't been part
of my consciousness other than be-
ing raised the son of a gentleman
farmer. Farming is not fun but it
brings great pleasure to watch a
piece of raw bush being turned into
a beautiful cash generation or food-
for-the-table machine, I hear....
So what I have to say will focus
less on technical correctness and
more along the lines of much needed
long term-survivability plans of a
loose grouping of people as op-
posed to a specific cultural heritage
grouping. For the purpose of this
writing, all forms of non-mecha-
nized, non-chemical traditional
farming will be labeled: slash &
burn (since there is more to slash
& burn than Milpa alone).
I just happen to be more familiar
with the "plantaish-style" slash &
burn of the Belize River Valley ex-
perience. The Garinagu have a
word they use for the farm, too:
arab. But it's the same basic self
sufficient farming practice that
doesn't use heavy equipment or too
much chemicals or genetic modifi-
cation of the product. Slightly dif-
ferent fruits and veg production but
same basic self sufficiency concept.
Since, the time may well come when
all Belizean families will need to de-
velop our own productive gardens,
I cannot in good conscience con-
done the "demonification" of this
way of life. Hell, I just had a piglet
"smoked" for the holidaze and it
doesn't get any better than that.
Self sufficiency farming not only
held rural families together across
this land, it ensured that the cultures


were strengthened in contributing to
the search for a common identity of
Belizeans, wherever they may have
roamed to, or from.
So I say a little "slash and burn"
in whatever language isn't all bad if
it:


1) strengthens the family unit in
rural areas
2) eases the pressure on urban
migration
3) strengthens and seeks to
preserve the cultures: Maya, Maya
Mopan, Yucateca Maya, Garifuna,
Kriol, others
4) gets us away from the Great
Said Tax (GST)
5) provides for a healthier
lifestyle
6) gets us away from the ex-
cessive world of imported pro-
cessed foods
But how do you compete with the
powerful images of the flashy and
cushy lifestyles our people see on
television? How do you tell a young
womann from any rural area that
the imported processed products
they see on TV are inferior to our
home grown products? They want
the good life they see on TV too, at
any costs, and Milpas not cutting it.
Every young teen wants to smell


like Calvin Klein, not like burnt
cow-horn...if you can relate.
To be forced on a farm with
bearing fruits is to be fed to the bit-
ing and blood sucking insects. Not
everyone's cup of tea. Traditional
farming is hard and oftentimes


thankless, fruitless work... espe-
cially since the crack cocaine
scourge descended on Belize and
refuse to leave us alone. I hear this
regularly from a "conocido" in
Xaibe. That crack scourge has ap-
parently been a key factor in de-
stroying the Milpa way of life. He
also blames Mexican Novelas and
access to regular television viewing
in general too. But most of all, he
blames the environmentalists, the
"greenies" as he calls them with
scorn, the most... I don't think it's
justified.
Today we can't get our people to
do any kind of self sufficient farm-
ing and that ought to be a great
challenge to our leaders. All our
leaders: political, spiritual, and busi-
ness leaders. And let's not forget
the media. Thank God they don't
play that "Ganja Farmer" song as
much on the radio anymore, be-
cause the youths do need to learn a
little roots tradition, and learn some


survivalist skills in the slash & burn.
The Agricultural Show in
Belmopan is only once a year, and
the promotion of subsistence farm-
ing underemphasized totally. We
only seem to have the shows be-
cause we are accustomed to hav-
ing them; but, lamentably it has
surely lost its soul. And, yes, I am
aware there are other agricultural
shows in different parts but they are
not national and not focused on pro-
moting farming traditions.
Yes, we cannot rely on "slash &
burn" family plots to provide us
with any trading advantage on any
commercial stage, at the macro
level; but we sure can encourage it
to strive for the six point objective
laid out above.
One of my favorite restaurants in
Washington, DC that served Presi-
dents and Princesses and Prime
Ministers, boasted of having their
"garden" on top of the restaurant
from where some of their veggies
came. They didn't have to slash and
burn but they had their own self suf-
ficient garden, in the middle of that
concrete jungle.
That's why I loved the place: so-
phisticated but with a touch of down
home family value reality. I took
many important people there to eat
and to this day, they don't know
why. They think it was for the books
and the beautiful people. Little do
they know.
So, there ought to be a place in
this new Belize for the "slash &
burn". What are our leaders afraid
of: a national revolt? We know
Panama's Noreiga made the
"Collins" (machete) unpopular but
with the right images we can turn
that around.


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sSin'le $3BZD, Double$.33Tf.


Get ff~usatiholflic Chrc

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Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 6


Shrimp i
By Mary Toy

In response to Minister Godfrey
Smith's column, "Flashpoint" in the
Belize Times two weeks ago on Belize's
shrimp industry, I don't know how any-
one can make an intelligent and in-
formed decision about the benefits and
advisability of subsidizing aquaculture
without the following information:
1. Employment at shrimp farms
and other aquaculture operations.
a. How many employees make mini-
mum wage (or under minimum wage)?
b. How many employees are techni-
cal staff and how many of the technical
staff are Belizeans?
c. How many employees are sea-
sonal and/or part time?
d. How many employees are pro-
fessionals, and how many are Belizeans?
e. What are the wage scales for each
category of employee and how many
employees are in each wage scale divi-
sion?
What is the average wage of the low-
est tier and seasonal employees?
f How many of the minimum wage
and seasonal employees receive any
employee benefits?
g. How many days per year on the
average does a seasonal worker work
on shrimp farms, other types of aquac-
ulture operations, shrimp processing
facilities and shrimp hatcheries? What
do they do the rest of the time?
h. How many of the minimum wage
and seasonal employees are women?
How many women are technical and
professional staff?
i. How many employees are under
the age of 16?
j. How many employees who work
at shrimp farms, hatcheries, processing
plants and other aquaculture operations


questions begging answers
of effluent from a farm is low in small b. What is the cost to the local and
S- quantities of water, but the amount national government to provide services
of effluent dumped into local water- to aquaculture facilities and their em-
ways can be very high because of ployees such as medical care, hous-
the massive amounts of water that ing, schools, police, fire protection, road
contain the effluent.) maintenance, etc.?


Farmed shrimp for processing


are Belize citizens and how many are ille-
gal immigrants?
2. Aquaculture training and educa-
tional programs.
a. What kind of educational programs
are available for in-house training for tech-
nical and professional positions?
b. Do the shrimp farms/aquaculture
facilities have programs to send Belizeans
for training outside the country?
c. How many Belizeans have been
trained and promoted as the result of any
such programs?
3. Environmental aspects of shrimp
farming and other aquaculture enter-
prises.
a. What kind of testing is done to de-
termine effects on local
ecosystems (such as the Placencia La-
goon)?
b. Who does the testing, how often is
it done, and where are the test results
available?
c. Have the effluent regulations for the
aquaculture industry been changed so that
an adjustment is made for the small
amount of effluent in a gallon of water
when multiplied by millions of gallons of
water that is channeled back into local
rivers, streams and lagoons? (This was
always one of the problems with water
testing regulations in Belize with respect
to the aquaculture industry. The amount


Shrimp farms use a lot of water and ettient.N into a watershed can be a problem.


d. Has the shrimp farm industry
contributed anything to environmen-
tal programs in areas in which the
shrimp farms/aquaculture facilities are
located?
e. What happens to the waste from
the shrimp processing plants?
f. What measures are in place to
clean up bodies of water that have
been adversely affected by shrimp
farm/aquaculture effluent? Are shrimp
farms/other aquaculture facilities re-
quired to contribute to any fund so that
money is available for clean-ups? If
so, how much is in this fund? If not,
where does this money come from?
g. What is the effect of self-regula-
tion on Belize's certification of shrimp
by the European Union?
4. Aquaculture's effects on lo-
cal/national economies.
a. What effect do shrimp farms have
on the economies in the areas in which
they are located? We know that they
pay no taxes to local taxing authori-
ties, so what do they contribute to the
local economies?


5. Shrimp farm and aquaculture
enterprise ownership.
How many cabinet ministers, senators
and area representatives have a finan-
cial interest in shrimp farms and other
aquaculture enterprises? How much?
(And don't say that's none of our busi-
ness. This is the type of information
they're already supposed to be disclos-
ing under existing law.)
6. Aquaculture economics.
a. How much of a subsidy will it take
to make Belize competitive in a world
market?
b. How much of a return will the gov-
ernment get back for any subsidies or
tax holidays granted to the aquaculture
industry?
c. How long will these subsidies or
tax holidays be sufficient to remain com-
petitive?
d. What are the alternatives, e.g., are
there other industries that have less of
an environmental impact and a greater
return on investment that would be a
better investment?


The Greater Caribbean this Week:


New UN Resolution on the Caribbean Sea


Caribbean Netnews.com
by Watson R. Denis, Ph.D
On December 20, 2006, the United
Nations General Assembly adopted a
resolution entitled: "Towards the Sus-
tainable Development of the Caribbean
Sea for present and future generations"
(A/C.2/61/L.30). This resolution differs
from previous resolutions (54/225, 55/
203, 57/261 and 59/230) adopted by
the UN in that its declared objectives
are unequivocal. Upon careful exami-
nation, the resolution is an achievement
in light of efforts made almost a decade
ago by organizations in the region in-
cluding CARICOM and the Associa-
tion of Caribbean States (ACS) to se-
cure the recognition of the Caribbean
Sea as a special area in the context of
sustainable development by the inter-


national community. It is timely to high-
light the main points presented in this new
resolution.
First of all, in its preamble and intro-
duction, the resolution refers to the inter-
national instruments (reports, conferences
and declarations) regarding environmen-
tal issues as well as conventions on the
protection and enhancement of the ma-
rine environment of the Caribbean region
and the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea. Indeed, it makes ref-
erence to the maj or issues regarding sus-
tainable development discussed by the in-
ternational community in recent years.
Moreover, among the natural phenom-
ena that compelled the members of the
UN to adopt this resolution, they cite the
fragility of the ecosystem of the Carib-
bean space and the economic vulnerabil-


ity of the region. The resolution thus
underscores the importance of climate
changes and variations, the intensity
of natural disasters, primarily drought,
hurricanes and volcanic eruptions.
And among the human phenomena,
they make mention of the intensive use
of the Sea for transportation, as well
as marine pollution, both land-based
and from vessels, which, out at sea,
sometimes release waste and waste-
water, not forgetting the accidental
discharge of dangerous and toxic sub-
stances.
The adoption of the resolution is also
based on efforts undertaken by the
States and countries of the region to
preserve the coastal and marine re-
sources of which they are guardians
and their expressed will to improve


the management of the Sea in the con-
text of sustainable development. In this
regard, the resolution salutes the work
and initiatives undertaken by the ACS,
including the establishment of the Car-
ibbean Sea Commission and the adop-
tion of a definition of the concept of the
Caribbean Sea as a special zone, which
were hitherto lacking.
In view of the foregoing, the resolu-
tion highlights a number of reasons why
the Caribbean Sea deserves to be pro-
tected and preserved for present and
future generations. In this regard, envi-
ronmental motives are added to the so-
cial and economic realities. Mention is
made of its exceptional biodiversity and
very fragile ecosystem. This is coupled
with the fact that it is a source of eco
(Please Turn To Page 7) RE







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 7


A World of Riches awaits Belize


By Meb Cutlack
The ups and downs of cruise ship
tourism will, no doubt, be with us for
decades to come. The one sure thing is
that, while putting direct cash every
week into the government's bottomless
pockets, the business does little finan-
cial or philosophical good to the ma-
j ority ofBelizeans and is both intrusive
of the life and living ofBelizeans.
Ecotourism, and the sustainable use
of our natural resources, however, is a
way in which Belizeans can be enriched
today and tomorrow and the secrets
of their well-being safeguarded far into
the future.
Natural healing is a huge and lucra-
tive market which is a part of this vi-
sion. Nurtured, it can enrich all the dis-
tricts of Belize, as well as the citizens
ofBelize City.
Throughout Belize today there are
many natural healers. Their work and
talent, practicality and usefulness are an
accepted way of healthy living among
a great many Belizeans.
They practice their art with an easy
and deceptive familiarity but, it comes
from lifetimes of wisdom gathered
through personal experience, passed
down through generation via demon-
stration and oral tradition and inte-
grated as part of the daily lives of many


villagers and townspeople.
There are no short cuts to the amount
of time it takes to gain this wisdom but
the wisdom is there. It is a treasure within
our boundaries which can be accessed
without harm to either time honoured
tradition or the effectiveness of the rem-
edies themselves.
Not only have healers in Belize cured
cancer, but also AIDS and Rheumatic


Fever. Below is a list of many other ill-
nesses which healers claim are treated
successfully, naturally.
Asthma, Blood Poisoning, Bronchi-
tis, Cholera, Colds, Colic in Children,
Constipation, Chronic Cough with
Phlegm, Whooping Cough, Dementia,
Diarrhea, Earache, Eczema, Fever, In-
fluenza, Gout, Headache, Indigestion,
Insomnia, Menstrual Irregularities, Ner-
vousness, Night Sweats, Enlarged Pros-
tate, Ulcers, and hundreds more con-
ditions.
Among the many practitioners of natu-
ral healing in the Cayo region there is a
body which already specializes in


spreading natural healing as an
ecotourism attraction. It is the Corner-
stone Foundation. This foundation is
encouraging 'healing workshops' for
visitors to the country to experience
natural healing for themselves. They
state: "This program introduces you to
the wisdom and practices of traditional,
indigenous healers who combine the
environment's natural resources with


their own inner guidance. Some of their
methods have been handed down
through generations; others are blended
with their own artful innovations.
"Participants will:
Learn about the healing resources
of the rain forest
Meet traditional healing practitioners
of Western Belize
Learn about the role played by natu-
ral healing in Belizean culture.
"Some participants come strictly for
the experience. Others receive school
credit. School affiliation is not neces-
sary, and all participants receive a Cer-
tificate ofAchievement. "Nine hours of


Spanish language instruction are in-
cluded in the program." and Corner-
stone invites, "if you would prefer not
to attend Spanish language classes,
please letus knowwhen you submit your
application."
In the West of Belize this could this
be, along with Rosita Arvigo's own
health program, the start of a healthy
industry for Belize; an industry spread-
ing knowledge and healing techniques
to reach hundreds of thousands of
people worldwide who are looking
more and more to natural healing to go
along, and even replace, the pills that
have bound them to the chemical giants
for so long and expensively.
As one healer has noted on the
internet: "The big problem is that people
who suffer from many of today's dis-
eases have been fed the myths by the
big drug companies in order to make
money. The drug industry is a really big
business. None of these companies care
about treating any disease. All they care
about is to develop drugs for sale and
bring in billions of dollars each year.
That's why none of them want you to
know about natural remedies and just
how good they work. The main reason?
No natural remedy can be patented!
This means they cannot make even
close to the amount of money being
made with prescription medications.


The Greater Caribbean this Week:


New UN Resolution on the Caribbean Sea


(Continued from Page 6)
nomic and material well-being for a
number of countries in the region. In this
regard, the resolution invites Member
States to become Contracting Parties
to the relevant international agreements
aimed at strengthening maritime secu-
rity and promoting the protection of the
marine environment of the sea against
pollution, as well as implementing sus-
tainable management programmes for
fish stock and implementing
programmes to counter the impoverish-
ment of marine biodiversity.
The resolution also encourages the
initiatives embarked on by the States
and countries of the region to create
conditions favourable to sustainable
development and to fight against pov-
erty and inequality. It also salutes the
work undertaken thus far by the ACS
in the areas of sustainable tourism,
trade, transport and natural disasters.
In view of the immensity of the task
ahead, the Parties to the resolution re-
quest the support of the United Nations
organs, including the Global Environ-
mental Fund and the international com-
munity, for the work of the countries of
the region as well as environmental pro-
tection organizations. In fact, a general


appeal is launched for everyone to pro-
vide assistance and support for the man-
agement, protection and sustainable use
of the resources of the Caribbean Sea.
There is no doubt that through the
adoption of this resolution the commu-
nity of Greater Caribbean nations has
resolutely advanced toward the funda-
mental objective of having the Carib-
bean Sea declared a special zone. On


three occasions the resolution makes
reference to this concept, which is dear
to the adherents of the International
Conference on the Sustainable Devel-
opment of Small Island Developing
States (1994) and the Mauritius Dec-
laration and Strategy (2005), which ad-
vocate for the principles and intents de-
clared at the summits to lead to con-
crete actions. Resolution A/C.2/61/


L.30, like any other resolution, ex-
presses wishes. It is important to en-
force it and to adopt new projects and
activities with a view to strengthening
the Caribbean Sea Initiative and achiev-
ing its final objective.

Dr Watson Denis is the Political
Advisor at the Secretariat of the As-
sociation of Caribbean States..


XVith a


Tropical T oist


Anita Tupper

Christine Tuppei


Opening Hours ,r
Monday Saturday 6 a.m. 8:30 p.m.
Sunday & Holidays 7 a.m. 7:30 pm.
Breakfast Lunch and Diner


Tel: 822-8014
Res:/Fax: 820-2062
Int.: 501-822-8014


r Mile 31 1/4
Western Highway
BELIZE, Central America
Mailing Address: Box 346, Belmopan
E-Mail: chrissy@cheersrestaurant.bz


I







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 8



.7r~h iL!A 371 ~J4119


Godfrey Smith's challenge to the
Belize City Council and open contempt
fortheUDP's meditation with the BTB,
and his, "it ain't gonna happen," is pour-
ing hot oil on an already inflammable
situation. Even the Belize Chamber of
Commerce has entered the picture at
last, urged dialogue and warned that
businesses are being affected by the
continued deterioration of the city's in-
frastructure and that any public con-
frontation on the streets will irrepara-
bly damage the cruise tourism industry.
Mr. Smith should reexamine his respon-
sibilities and priorities as Minister of
Tourism or else resign.


Ombudsman & Integrity
Commission
Both these organizations were created
to help safeguard the people of Belize
against crime and corruption. Neither
body works and both are impotent for
the same reason. Government gave
them their task with great ballyhoo but
did not give them the tools or finance to
achieve even modest advances against
official crime and corruption.
In a recent case in Northern Island
the Ombudsman (woman) has exposed
years of officially sponsored crime
cover-up and even murder against high
police officials and their political
bosses.
It is time that Belize's Ombudsman
and members of the Integrity Commis-
sion went public and declared that there
was no point in continuing their work


as long as they are hamstrung by
government's lack of cooperation and
lack of finance. My advise to both or-
ganizations is disband and don't let
Government pretend anymore that you
have teeth and are doing anything to
safeguard the rights ofBelizeans!
A Boost for Belize!
They look at places where they can
lay back, take off their shoes and settle
in for a long time," says Tom Kelly, who
has written a series of books about the
ins and outs of buying in foreign mar-
kets, including, "Cashing In on a Sec-
ond Home In Mexico." He adds: "Their
location choices have always been af-
fected by costs as well. In the past,
cheap living have driven and sustained
strong expatriate movements. Members
of the "Lost Generation" in Paris during
the 1920s, for example, were able to
survive there on a song. That may not
be as true as in the past, but the cost
factor is still a major determinant of
where a lot of Americans choose to buy.
So where are the prime up-and-com-
ing markets for second home buyers?
Kelly says the top six hottest markets
for 2007 will be The Bay Islands of
Honduras, Belize, the South Coast of
Mexico, Croatia, Turkey, and Panama.
Musa take note!
From the web: "The Venezuelan army
will help Nicaragua build a road to con-
nect the swampy Caribbean coast with
the rest of the country, in the latest ef-
fort by President Hugo Chavez to bring
Managua into his bloc of leftist allies.
Nicaraguan Transport Minister Pablo
Fernando Martinez said in a newspa-
per interview published Monday that a
Venezuelan general visited Nicaragua
two weeks ago for talks on the plan to
construct 310 miles of road at a cost of
$350 million. Martinez told the El
Nuevo Diario daily that "the Venezu-


elan army, together with the Nicaraguan
army and as far as possible the minis-
try" would build the road from Puerto
Cabezas on the coast to the town of
Rio Blanco in the interior. Venezuela's
aid will be free, he said." Better a new
road network in Belize than phoney
cheap oil and so called interest 'debt'
relief!


Cruise ship bug!
Recdently, the highly-contagious
'cruise ship' bug shut down the Hilton
Washington Dulles Airport hotel after


100 guests and employees fell ill. The
hotel stopped taking reservations on
Wednesday and started relocating
guests. After a top-to-bottom cleaning,
the property plans to reopen Tuesday.
According to the Centers for Disease
Control, most cruiseship outbreaks start
with infected food, then spread person-
to-person. The medical advice is, 'don't
shake hands' and so be friendly but
distant with those cruise ship passen-
gers.
Does Belize need a jungle girl?
A Cambodian girl who disappeared
aged eight has been found after living
wild in the jungle for 19 years, police
say. She is believed to be Rochom
P'ngieng, who disappeared while tend-
ing buffalo on the edge of the jungle in
remote northern Rattanakiri province.
Her father says he has identified her
through scars and will have DNA tests
taken to prove she is his daughter. But
whatever, the girl has already brought
enormous international publicity and
wealth to the tiny village where she was
found!


The Magical Biodiversity of the


Runaway Creek Nature Reserve


Sharon Matola, the Belize Zoo
Dr. Gil Boese, Foundation for
Wildlife Conservation

The Runaway Creek Nature Re-
serve, under ownership and man-
agement for the Foundation for


Wildlife Conservation, FWC, and
Belize's own Birds Without Borders,
BWB, provides a forest sanctuary for
many rare species of plants and animals.
For instance, the spider monkey is a
happy inhabitant of this important tract
of tropical forest.
This is a monkey known to occur in
tall, continuous tropical forest. Here in
Belize, spider monkeys are known from
the Bladen Nature Reserve, in the south,
and in and around the Rio Bravo Con-
servation Management Area, in north-
western Belize.
But surprise!!! Ahealthy population
of spider monkeys lives in the forest


found between Belize City and
Belmopan!! This is the magical Run-
away Creek Nature Reserve.
Mammal experts note that the spider
monkey is either "usually locally extinct
although common in some protected
areas".
Taking this statement into consider-
ation, The Runaway Creek Nature Re-
serve stands as a vital forest sanctuary,
poised to secure the survival of this rare
species into the future.
The Runaway Creek Nature Reserve
provides these fast-moving spider mon-
keys with an expansive area where they
can swing from branch-to-branch and


dine on a variety of fruits such as
sapadillo, fig and ramon.
Field researchers from Birds
Without Borders witnessed a spider
monkey in Runaway Creek nature
Reserve giving birth! Considering
that the female breed every 2 to 4
years only, this was quite a special
and rare sighting.
This exciting "birth event" under-
scores that the Runaway Creek
Nature Reserve, in our Belize Dis-
trict, is alive and kicking with vibrant
biodiversity.... Spider Monkeys
and much, much more!!!


0


Visit The


Belize Zoo


II







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 9


for


Conservation


By INdependent Weekly's Toledo
Correspondent
Mr. Kenneth Williams and Ms. C.
Ross of the Belize Tourist Board met
this last 17th and 18th of January at
Nature's Way in Punta Gorda Town
with executives of the Toledo Eco
Tourism Association, Mr. Vicente
Sacul, Mr. Mr. Candido Coh, Mr.
Reyes Chun and the urban part of the
TEA. The Punta Gorda Conservation
Committee Chairlady, Ms Leela Vernon
MBE, also president of the Toledo
branch of the National Kriol Council,
Mr. Roberto Echeverria of the Toledo
Tour Guides Association, Mr. Oscar
Cal Chairman of the Toledo Rural Bus
DriversAssociation, Ms. Cordellia Shal
of Earthwatch Institute, Mr. Oscar
Burke Chairman of Rosewood Studio
and, members of these associations
were present.
Mr. Sacul and Mr. Reyes began the
meeting explaining how the programs
they are promoting are the tourism part
of the proposed Toledo People's Eco
Park Plan, and that they were designed
to benefit all sectors of the Toledo
community. The private business
owners, hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers,
tour guides and operators, local
business, the major community-based
cultural groups, the arts and crafts
producers, and the non-governmental
organizations working for conservation
and sustainable development in Toledo
District.
After a very informative meeting
the group visited Laguna Village and
San Jose Village TEA groups. They
checked guest houses, enjoyed a crafts
making demonstration, music, dance,
and dinners with the members families.
Early Thursday morning, the tour
continued with breakfast with families
in San Antonio, and a visit to San
Miguel and Medina bank guesthouses.
After lunch in Punta Gorda, the
group met with the Punta Gorda
Conservation Committee. They
discussed the plan for a small cruise ship
to visit Toledo, (see INndependent
Reformer Newspaper, January 19th for
more information) and the plan for a
six day eco cultural nature conservation
tour package, including a day for the
East Indian, Garifuna, Mestizo, Kriol,
Maya, and others in Toledo.
Ms. Vernon, "While I'm the
president of the Toledo Kriol Council,
I'm speaking here as Chairlady of the
Punta Gorda Conservation
Committee, representing all our peoples
in Toledo. We need Belize Tourist
Board's help, our youth are going into
crime because there is no employment
here for them, we have designed these


We"


a&


plans to create employment, but the
government has continued to ignore us.
We have one of the richest districts, but
we get so little help to develop what we
have."
Edwin, representative of the
Garifuna group, "It's not, that we have
not been planning, we have, but our


plans have not been endorsed by our
government".
Leela, "That's right, I have been in
this group for over 10 years, (the Punta
Gorda Conservation Committee was
founded in 1995 and registered in
2000} and I have gone on the radio,
written the newspapers, and a group of
us even went to protest this neglect. In
Belize City we met with Paul Rodriguez,
Belize's Ombudsman, went on national
TV, and still nothing happened. I'll tell
you truly, I'm so disappointed and
I'm angry. I'm beginning to think it's
time we really make a big protest
to try and encourage the
government to recognize and help
us, nothing else has worked."
Tony Ramlam, of the East Indian
group, "we have a lot of youths who
really need help, we are really
punishing down here. My father left
me some good land that I want to
pass on to my son. But now I'm
forced to sell it to someone from
outside who is paying less than it is
worth, but I have to, so I can pay for
my children's education. I've been a
licensed tour guide since 1988. I'm
not renewing my license because
while we have these good
programs to attract the tourists,
but the government won't help us
to further develop them. I have
known Mr. Chet for over 30 years,
and he has been trying to help us for
as long as I can remember, he knows
us and we know and trust him. Why


say


Cultural

won't the government support him
and us in our efforts to help ourselves?
Leela, "if the Belize Tourist Board
will really support and help us we can
make it. Mr. Ramclam is right, you
are the key people, you are in product
development, we are expressing
ourselves fully and clearly, you are
Belizeans, you are part of us, you have
children, you know what we are
talking about. We need your help. I
know you have people above you,
who might want to continue to put us
down, but we ask you please, don't
let them."
Edwin, "Many things have been
taken from us here, and used and
made big up north. We had the first
variety show, it started here, but was
taken and made large in Belize City.
We had the first tourism village for
small cruise ships, the Habibara
Grinigu Cerro Project, but
government refused to support it, and
now the only one is in Belize City. So
many things have been taken from
Toledo. What we are asking is
simple, we want you to help us to
continue to work on these projects


To


here and make something good for
our people out of them. Then maybe
we can say, we aren't forgotten after
all."
Mr. Williams, "We will need a
more detailed plan for the cruise ship
and other projects you are proposing,
so we can properly lobby for them, I
have asked Mr. Schmidt for this. "
Edwin, "Sir, you ask that we give
you more detailed plan. We are willing
to send you this, but as I said, we
have done this before and it has been
taken to be used somewhere else, by
and for someone else. We will send
this, but I ask you not to forget us.
Leela, "Yes, this is true, I also
have known Mr. Schmidt, our
consultant for many years now, I
know he has gone to our Prime
Minister, Minister Briceno, Minister
Mark Espat, and other Ministers
many times on our behalf, they all
know him and that this is true, and that
they have refused to help. We have
all tried and spent so many years
trying. I have even written a song and

(Please Turn To Page 11) '


hingl


The Toledo Correspondent for the
INdependent Reformer wishes on behalf
of all his many admirers here in Toledo, to
wish the Right Honorable George C. Price
a belated Happy Birthday and our wishes
for many more, in gratitude for all he has
done and continues to do for our beloved
Belize.


I would also like to thank Senor Fidel
Castro for the more efficient light bulbs he
gave to our family and hundreds of other
families in Punta Gorda Town. With them
our family's light bill was cut in half!
For many years now are people in the
rural villages have received free medical
attention from Cuban doctors. Now the
urban people are also assisted to help
reduce their cost of electricity, which is
the highest in all of Central America!
Viva La Revolution Cubano.
(A Paid Advertisement)








Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 10



What Happened to the UDP



and Political Reform?


Contributed
When the UDP was in office, with the
Rt. Honorable Manuel Esquivel as Prime
Minister, the UDP was the champion of
Political Reform. It was the Rt. Honor-
able Manuel Esquivel who first pro-
posed a Political Reform Commission.
At that time, it seemed the UDP wanted
good Government.
The Commission was to be aj oint ef-
fort and was set up with the then Attor-
ney General, Dean Barrow, as its chair-
man. We believe the Commission failed
because the PUP objected to his ap-
pointment.
During the 1998 campaign the PUP
capitalized on the promise they made
to the people that there would be Po-
litical Reform if they were elected to
office. They did win, however, 9 years
have passed and there has been no Po-
litical Reform despite the fact the Politi-
cal Reform Commission worked hard
and presented its report with great rec-
ommendations. The PUP went back on
its promise. The PUP turned its back
upon the people and has refused make
the recommended reforms into law.
Corruption that the Reforms would have
helped eliminate grew bolder and
Party's cronies grew richer at the tax
payers' expense.
When the UDP lost the 1998 elec-
tion, Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel,
as a true statesman, stepped down as
head of the party. Hon. Dean Barrow
then became head of the UDP. Did the
UDP's hope for Reform and Good
Government die when the Honorable


wlp v,1. I
Former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel
Manuel Esquivel stepped down?
The UDP now appears to be against
Political Reform and an elected Senate.
During the past 7 years since the Politi-
cal Reform Commission made its rec-
ommendations the UDP has not made
any effort of consequence to have the
recommendations made law. The UDP
leaders stepped back and let the status
quo remain. UDP Party heads have not
proceeded with Reform and have been
against an elected Senate.
An elected Senate would be answer-
able to the people, not to a political
party. It is one of the best means of
stopping corruption. One the reasons
the post-Esquivel UDP has offered for
not supporting an elected Senate is that
the UDP is entitled to their turn in of-
fice, too!
The UDP gives the appearance that
they want to enter into power with the
same laws that have, since Indepen-
dence, provided means for political par-
ties to administer the Government and
gain personal wealth through corruption.
The fact that the UDP and PUP do not
wish to usher in Political Reform with an
elected Senate clearly shows that they
know and realize thatPolitical Reform and


an elected Senate would prevent the
present dictatorship from continuing, curb
corruption and provide penitentiary sen-
tences for the ministers who attempt to
engaged in it. It appears that they are
aware that there would be no free rides
and are afraid of the consequences that
would be created by political reform and
an elected Senate. Afraid they would then
be subject to prison in the same manner
as the poor.
Belize does not need more ministers in
office who wish to obtain their retirement
funds through the issuance of bloated con-
tracts, spurious loans or other forms of
chicanery. Such activities have brought
about staggering Government debts and
financial distress thathas required increases
in taxes. Such tax increases have now pro-
ceeded to the point where they are hard
to maintain and are creating a downward
spiral in the economy.
Efforts to stop bad judgment or cor-
ruption have failed. Seven good and well-
intentioned Ministers formed an alliance
in an attempt to prevent further abuses by
the Government. All they gained was the
title of G-7. The Prime Minister, Said
Musa, quickly dispatched them. They
soon learned that Belize's Government
was a form of dictatorship, that it was not
a dictatorship of the proletariat, and that
the Prime Minister was and is the dicta-
tor. He dictated to them and most had to
get in line orbe left out.
It appears that both political mass par-
ties want to maintain the dictatorship, they
do not want a democracy, and they do
not want to stop corruption. They want


to use, not help the people. Promises to
stop corruption-sometime in the fu-
ture- have no value. Promises that they
do not intend to perform are a politician's
bread and butter, they are not sincere and
the promises are forgotten as soon as the
vote is in.
In 1998, to gain votes, the PUP prom-
ised Political Reform. They received the
votes, however, 9 years has passed and
reform has not passed. In 2003 the Prime
Minister, the RightHonorable SaidMusa,
publicly recognized the devastating cor-
ruption that existed and promised to put
an end to Ralph Oranges'corruption.
What happened? Can't the Honorable
Said Musa overcome internal opposition?
The Honorable Said Musa was the cham-
pion who called for and put together the
Political Reform Commission: he in-
structed them, supported them, gave them
direction and their marching orders.
One should not consider voting for a
candidate who does not, or has not, put
the country first ahead of the personal gain
that he can obtain by abuses of office. One
should not support a Political Party that
refuses Political Reform and wants to con-
tinue corruption that has transpired for
25 years. The political parties are not en-
titled to and should not have turns at cor-
ruption.
Did the change of party leaders change
the good Government goals of the UDP?
Ifthe change did, the change was not good
for eitherthe UDP orthe country ofBelize.
If the change of leadership changes the
UDP goals for good Government then it
is time for another change.


RBTT loses big in Belize


Trinidad Express
The story is told that when Albert
Einstein died he went straight to heaven.
There he was told that his room was
not ready and he had to wait in a dor-
mitory which he would share with other
people. St Peter then introduced
Einstein to his room-mates. "Albert, this
is Jim. He has an IQ of 180!"
"That's wonderful," said Einstein,
"we can discuss mathematics." Then he
was introduced to his second room-
mate. "This is Harry. His IQ is 150."
"Fantastic," Einstein remarked, "we
can discuss physics." Then St Peter
called the third room-mate forward.
"This is Eddy. His IQ is 100." "Great,"
replied Einstein, "we can discuss the
theatre." Just then a fourth man stepped
forward and explained, "I'm Norm,
your fourth room-mate. I'm sorry but
my IQ is only 70." "No problem," said
Einstein with a smile. "Tell me, where


do you think interest rates are headed?"
You don't need to be Einstein to won-
der about the bankers at RBTT. While
the basis of the bank's expansion into
the region is Trinidad's liquidity, in other
words the money Trinidad-based
people and businesses pour into the
bank, there are increasing concerns of
how that money is used. Customers
catch their royal while two law firms,
the heads of which are Directors of the
Bank, get all the bank's business and
anyone who wants a mortgage or any
other legal instrument has to go to one
of these two firms otherwise no deal.
Most other organizations tend to have
a conflict of interest policy regarding its
Directors. Not RBTT and the other
Trinidad banks.
Recently, RBTT lost a bundle in
Belize. Essentially there is a man named
Prosser who was at the time being
forced to pay a huge amount by the US


Courts for gutting a telephone company.
He is a banker and investor from the
US Virgin Islands whose reputation for
sharp practice is legendary. While he
was being forced by the Court to repay
millions in the US, RBTT lent him money
in return for useless paper in the Belizean
telephone company. First of all, RBTT
should have done a due diligence. Sec-
ondly they should have asked why
would a man with a bank want to bor-
row money using security that was not
his bank but paper in a company in which
his role was disputable to the extent that
all the parties including the Government
were in litigation. The RBTT bosses who
did that should have been forcefully ini-
tiated in the mobile business they
should all have been in a cell. Nothing
came out of the incident and nobody's
posterior was on the line, whether tele-
phone or firing, as a result.
Now one hears that RBTT is thinking


of literally pouring money down the
drain by investing it in a canal some-
where else in Central America. It is dif-
ficult to understand the Pizarro or even
Bizarro fascination with that part of the
world. Is it that there are no investment
opportunities in the Caribbean? Or is it
a deal of the sort that bank managers
are reputed to score on the sale of re-
possessed property? One hears about
houses that have been seized by the
Bank for default on mortgages then be-
ing sold at ridiculous rates because of
underhand payments to the bankers.
Certainly, an upstanding organization
like RBTT will never indulge in that kind
of illegal practice and this is what makes
its Central American adventures even
more mysterious. Why are they invest-
ing in Banana Republics? Is it because
they don't give a fig? Or is it because
they are all slippery?
-Tony Deyal







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 11


"Nothing


for


We"


say


Toledo


01


(Continued from Page 9)
have it on a CD, I call it "Nothing
For We" it goes like this:
Nothing for We! Come to Toledo,
Come to Toledo, where all the action
is. We got the tourist attraction here.
We got Maya culture, Garifuna
culture, Mestizo culture, and no forget
me, Kriol culture. Money de flow,
money de flow, all around the country.
But nothing for we, nothing for we.
Not only Leela de see this. Open the
door, open the door, make the money
go into this here district. Stop the
neglect, show some respect, so we
can live in dignity!
We want our leaders to listen to
us. We are the ethnic leaders and we
want respect. We are the poorest
district and the most in need but it's
not because we don't have the
resources or that we haven't tried, it's
because of the lack of support from
our government.
"What we are on our knees for,
and begging for, is simply an
endorsement. There are funders and
wealthy people who want to help us.
There has been offers, but because
we don't have government support
we can't accept them. Mr. Chet
found one who only wanted a letter
from our leaders saying they supported
us."
Chet:, "That is correct, I had a
wealthy woman from the States who
offered US$37,000 to help us with
the six day Eco Cultural tour and to
restore the old rice mill plaza and
building to use as a temporary Toledo
house of culture. Ms Vernon and I
met with our area representative,
Honorable Michael Espat, and he did
meet with the lady who said she would
be happy to help, and only wanted a
letter showing government support.
Honorable Espat said Toledo has not
received a fair share, and if a foreigner
could give this to help us, he would
ask our Prime Minister for matching
funds, so we could really make
progress with this good plan. But after
checking with those higher up he
refused to provide the needed letter.
I personally went to see Prime
Minister Musa, who said he had
looked at the building while meeting
with Minister Espat in PG, and that
he thought it would be a good place
to start the program. The Prime
Minister had previously sent two
letters of support for the Punta Gorda


&


Conservation Committee and the eco
park plan. Prime Minister Musa
suggested I see his son, Yassar Musa,
head of NICH to tell him of his
support and the plans. I waited in
Belize City for two days for an
appointment with Yassar Musa, and
later wrote him several letters. He
refused to see me or answer the
letters and phone calls. (for further
instances of this see Mr. Richard
Hulse's Independent Reformer article,
"Culture of Exclusion: Belizean
Theater and Art, a view from the
street" January 5, 2007)
If one looks at the annual budget
for NICH over the years, and how much
has actually been allotted for Toledo, it
will be obvious that Toledo has not
received their fair share, as our area
representative said. even though they
are always sending for Paul Nabor,
Leela Vernon, our Maya groups and
Andy Palacio hails from Toledo. Our
government likes to say the people of
Toledo are not forgotten, if this is true,
does it mean that they are aware of our
needs but choose to neglect us?
Mr. Coc, "I'm from the Maya Day
Group, we want to make a
reproduction of a pre Hispanic Maya
coastal village. We have the help of
Dr. Heather Mckillgs, the worlds
foremost archeologist on the Maya of
Southern Belize. Our area
representative, Mike Espat said he
would help us once we had a piece of
government land surveyed, we did
this, and now he says he would like
to help us but he can't make the
Minister of Lands Briceno help us if
he doesn't want to.
Mr. Schmidt, "we wrote PACT
for funds to help us develop this
proj ect but they told us that unless the
government shows some interest in
protecting this land, they can't help,
so far the Minister says he will help,
but when the group traveled to
Belmopan to meet with those in
charge, they aren't there, even though
they gave us an appointment."
Mr. Chun, "We have gone over
our plans and shown what we have
to offer. Now it's up to our
government to open the door and let
the money flow in." Mr. Williams, "We
will try our best ."
Oscar, "This visit might just be
part of their job, they're getting paid
to be here, we don't know what will
happen. But we hope these people


Cultural

are in a position to make a difference,
that someone will listen to them, and
that we have opened their eyes."
While we have expressed our
disappointment with the discrimination
we all in Toledo have experienced
from Toledo Tourist Board and the
Ministry of Tourism Mark Espat in the
past, the fact that Toledo has been
forgotten may not be all that bad,
because now that we have seen what
kind of problems the big cruise ships
and mass tourism has brought our
people up north, we have been able
to design our programs to hopefully
help us to prevent them. The Punta
Gorda Conservation Committee has
asked those of us at Rosewood
Recording Studio to help organize a
musical presentation in support of
these plans, and the Toledo People's
Eco Park for the Baron Bliss week-
end, 10th of March, where Nabor,
Leela and many of our local artists will


i


perform. I hope by then the Belize
Tourist Board and Ministry of
Tourism will have supported us by
then, so the event will be a positive
celebration of our government's help,
instead of a demonstration in protest
of their continued lack of help."
Pastor Tony Ramclam delivered
a prayer thanking the Lord for the visit
from BTB representatives and asking
that they be strengthened in their
efforts to communicate to the head of
the BTB, Mrs. Tracy Tegar/Panton
and our Minister of Tourism Hon.
Godfrey Smith, the great need for their
help and support for the plans that the
people of Toledo have worked so
hard to develop. Everyone parted
with a good feeling, and high hopes
BTB will lobby the Government of
Belize for support of a small cruise
ship, and the Six-Day Eco Culture
Tour for Toledo. That they will walk
their talk!


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Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 131




Belize Oil- Boon or Bune


--J (Continued From Page 1)
ogy.
IW. BNE said they had the help of a
spiritual advisor in locating the oil. Any-
thing to that?
JC. "Utter bull sh... ah, hogwash
The oil business is a game of high
technology Ouija boards are for
dreamers and crystal balls belong on
crystal monkeys."
IW. So you are impressed with the
BNE technology?
JC."The discovery was definitely bril-
liant!"
IW. But there seems to be a lot of
problems now.
JC. "Ben Franklin flew a kite into
a rain cloud andfound electricity, but
certainly you can't credit him for the
electric light or the electric chair The
discovery of oil at Spanish Lookout
was a completely separate action
from the production of that oil. The
discovery was a matter ofcompetent
technology, while the production has
been a comedy of errors fuelled by
arrogance, incompetence, ignorance
and an integrity vacuum. Different
people-different results."
IW. The same company though, isn't
it?
JC. "Yes, and maybe even some of
the same people, but a super scien-
tist can be an awful accountant. BNE
people arrived in Belize i i/h one of
those dim-witted "new Gringo in
Belize" attitudes where they had all
the answers, even claiming they
could control the corruption in our
government. They patronizingly
talked down to all of us. Such arro-
gance has destroyed a lot more new
arrivals than have survived it. BNE
was not only a disaster at public re-
lations, but both the oil people and
government employees were ignorant
ofoilproduction issues. The govern-
ment had no experience and insisted
on fumbling ahead instead ofacquir-


ing the necessary specialists to pro-
tect our national resource interests.
You just don 't put a young inexperi-
ence employee in charge of a multi-
million dollar (perhaps billion dollar)
enterprise, but GOB did. BNE's ig-
norance splashed all over the place
with their blatant misinformation
about what we could expect during
production. It was because of this
information that Spanish Lookout
contacted me. And the whole situa-
tion was complicated further i i/h a
lack of integrity in both camps. GOB
decided to arbitrarily increase the
agreed upon tax some 60% as soon
as commercial oil production was
Si if n eii ith no regard to the sanc-
tity of original agreements. Atrocious
and shameful act! BNE talked about
the purity of their actions and goals
while making compromising deals
S1 ith politicians as they were trying
to screw the Mennonites. It is an ugly
scene of Greed Monsters gorging
7//,'/i'/ve' until they find they are
eating their own tails. "
IW. Maybe we can cover
some of these problems later, but a big
question in everybody's mind is if the
oil is going to be good for Belize. The
size of the discovery seems to get
smaller with each report. Just how
much oil is there?
JC. "It is a major discovery
and the revenues could have a sig-
nificant impact on Belize. The total
oil reports are inaccurate and under-
valued for some unstated agenda.
When we were evaluating Belize back
in the 70s it was generally agreed
that there was one definite oil prov-
ince from the fault controlled Belize
River northward. There should be
several oil fields discovered in this
quadrant north of the Belize River It
was also a consensus that the To-
ledo area had good potential and
Orange Walk was promising, al-


is Da Fum


though exploration and drilling there
would be expensive because of the
marsh lands. Offshore was not even
considered because the environmen-
tal aspects of our barrier reef were
just too sensitive. Also, Chetumal
Bay looked promising for gas except
that the Mexico/Belize boundary was
in the middle of it and there was no
way to deal in ith Mexico on petro-
leum. "
IW. But don't you believe that the
oil will eventually be a great benefit to
Belize?
JC. "No, not necessarily. I knew
a man who bought his son a
workover rig and set him up in the
oil well service business. Business
was very good, but the son went
broke anyway. He sent his son to
college and then turned over a good
environmental company to him. Two
years later, the business had in-
creased ten fold and thing% looked
good, but the following year it went
bi, nk iIvi i /h an overwhelming debt
. Our government has the same track
record, perhaps even worse. If the
oil revenues are allowed to go into
our political general fund, they will
be pissed away through the same in-
competence, corruption and dishon-
esty that has resulted in our govern-
ment increasing our national debt to
more than two billion d /,1,,// il /ih no
tangible benefits going to our citizens.
The man I spoke of above did not fi-
nance his son again in a new venture,
nor shouldwe place even more of our
precious national resource revenues
in the hands of such gross incompe-
tent spendoholics as our political
leaders. It is well known that it is folly
to hire an alcoholic to run your bar
If our politicians get the revenues, in
five years our national debt would
probably increase ten fold andwe will
find that whatever revenues we ex-
pected from our future oil would al-


ready have been hocked as collateral
for more loans."
IW. That's a pretty bleak assessment.
Are you saying that our oil revenues
could be good for Belizeans if handled
in a better way? And if so, what would
be a better way?
JC. "It is fascinating to me that no
one asks where the Hell the two bil-
lion dollars went because we cer-
tainly have nothing to show for it. It
is obvious that if that money had been
invested better the benefits would
have been better. And yes, there is a
better way to handle our oil revenues.
"The .ihe/ltI Islands, although
part of SQ ii nii, were always treated
as a bastard stepchild, and seemed
to be last on the list whenever par-
liament doled out any funds. Then oil
was discovered in the East \lhewilnd
Basin and the oil was handled
through the Sullom Voe terminal in
.\het'lIn/ The ./het,/in/ had the oil
taxes directed to a special trust fund
to be spent exclusively on education,
health, art, sports, and financial de-
velopment. Today they have the best
schools and hospitals in Scotland.
Education is free and it is compul-
sory that every child attend school.
Qualified students have scholarships
for college. Theater groups and
sports competitions are active on
each of the islands. New businesses
helped from the trust have dropped
unemployment to less than 3%. They
also have the rest roads in the British
Isles.
Belize can have the same results
if the 7.5% oil royalty is placed in the
same kind of trust beyond political
control to be used exclusively for edu-
cation, health, arts. sports and job
development. The taxes, which are
separate from the royalty, could con-
tinue to disappear down the bottom-
less pit of our general fund. "
More of this interview next week...


- addiction


-- (Continued From Page 4)
during vegetable chop suey, even veggie
chow mein.
I almost succeeded. Once. I had ac-
tually ordered wonton soup and sat
there feeling quite good about myself.
Until I got a whiff of the sweet and sour
chicken being served at the next table.
I called the waiter back and changed
my order.
But I didn't enjoy it. And I could
hardly look at myself in the mirror by
the hand wash stand when it was over.
Next time, I told myself, I WILL eat
something good for me. I will.
I held out a whole week. Seven whole


days. Until tonight.
Those were the thoughts running
through my mind as I reached down for
a French fry. It's hard to tell, in the dark,
exactly what is fry, and what is fried
chicken bits.
I had a sudden flashback to the days
when my friends and I used to go eat
Tux Fried Chicken and sit by the sea-
wall across from Animal Park after go-
ing to La Femme or Legends. Of acci-
dentally biting into ajalapeno pepper,
thinking it's a fry. Ofus all laughing, and
holding them up to the street light trying
to tell the difference. Except the people
who don't like pepper. I find some of


them have very little sense of humor.
Those were fun times, sharing chicken
with friends.
Only tonight I am eating alone. Again,
unnaturally.
When did such an innocent meal turn
into a secret, solitary pleasure?
Perhaps its connected to the collapse
of the economy, being the only thing
people can afford when they feel like
going on a little spree.. .No three dolla
tonight, gimme five, or better make that
a seven-fifty. With fried rice, no fries.
What the hell, wan li side a sweet and
sowa too, dah pay-day my gyal/bwoy!
Live a little.


Once upon a time we usta go to Yin
Kee for steak or shrimp or, what was
that thing called we used to eat some-
times when we really felt special or
wanted to impress someone.. .ubster,
wobster, no. no, lobster! Do you re-
member eating that? It's kinda like
shrimp but bigger and juicier. They have
these pinchy things on the front like a
crab?
But maybe you are too young...
Maybe you are of the generation that
only knows about Li Chee or Kick
Down Fence or Shirleys or Belizean
Fried Chicken. You wouldn't remem-
(Please Turn To Page 15) E '








Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 141


Your weekly


ARIES (Mar. 21- April 20)
You may get upset with peers or rela-
tives. Look into alternate means of sup
porting your financial burdens. Roman-
tic encounters are evident through
travel or educational pursuits. You will
be able to pick up on future trends if
you keep your eyes peeled for unique
ideas.
Your lucky day this week will be Fri-
day.
TAURUS (Apr. 21- may 21)
Your creative imagination will help you
in coming up with unique ideas. You can
discuss your intentions and ideas with
your colleagues or friends this week. Get
involved in creative projects that could
turn into moneymaking ventures. You
can make alterations to your appearance
that everyone will admire.
Your lucky day this week will be Mon-
day.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21)
Make those phone calls and pay your
bills. You are ready to blow up and your
stress level has gone into over drive.
Your philanthropic contributions will
bring you praise. Don't let your emo-
tions interfere with your professional in-
tegrity. Your lucky day this week will be
Tuesday.
CANCER (June 22-July 22)
You can offer your help to others but
back off if they appear to be offended by
your persistence. If you join intellectual
or cultural groups, you should meet indi-
viduals who stimulate you. Trips will be
more than adventurous. Lovers may prove
unworthy of your affection. Your lucky
day this week will be Thursday.
LEO (July 23-Aug 22)
You will learn a great deal from the for-
eigners you meet. You can have quite the
romantic ad venture if you take time to get
to know your mate all over again. Rela-
tionships will be emotional this week. Sit
back. Your lucky day this week will be
Monday.
VIRGO (Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
Watch for empty promises that may give
you false hope. Spend time getting into
physical activities with your lover. Jeal-
ousy may be a contributing factor to your
emotional ups and downs. Do something
that will be stimulating and creative. Your |


lucky day this week will be Tuesday.
LIBRA (Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Put aside any decisions concerning
your position at work. You need to pam-
per yourself for a change. You can make
changes that will enhance your appear-
ance. Help if you can, but more than likely
it will be sufficient just to listen. Your lucky
day this week will be Friday.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24 Nov. 22)
You will be emotional about family mat-
ters. Those close to your heart may be dif-
ficult to reason with. Go after your goals
and don't be afraid to ask for assistance.
Spend time with friends or family.
Your lucky day this week will be Saturday.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
Organization will be the key to avoiding
discord and family feuds. Don't count your
chickens before they hatch. Residential
moves will be favorable, and larger quar-
ters the most probable direction. Organize
your day to avoid any setbacks that might
ignite temper flare-ups. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22.- Jan. 20)
Look into physical activities that will
help get rid of some of that tension you
may be feeling. Pamper yourself; you de-
serve it. You would be wise to socialize
with as many people as possible. Look
before you leap. Your lucky day this week
will be Tuesday.
AOUARIUS (Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
Make plans to meet again in the near
future. Real estate ventures will be to your
ad vantage. You should consider getting
your whole family involved in a project at
home. Your self esteem will come back if
you take part in organizational functions
that allow you to be in the lime light. Your
lucky day this week will be Friday.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
You can get others to do things for you
but be sure not to overpay them or lend
them money. Electrical problems may be
an issue. Get involved in groups that can
offer intellectual stimulation, this week is
not the day to try to comer people by giv-
ing them ultimatums. Your lucky day this
week will be Sunday.


THINGS TO MAKE UR PARENTS THINK UR IN-
SANE!!
1. Follow them around the house everywhere.
2. Moo when they say your name.
3. Run into walls.
4. Say that wearing clothes is against your religion.
5. Stand over them at four in the morning with a huge grin on
your face and say, good morning sunshine
6. Pluck someone's hair out and yell, "DNA"
7. Have 20 imaginary friends that you talk to all the time.
8. In public yell, "No Mom/Dad, I will not make out with
you!!"
9. Do what they actually tell you.
10. Jump off the roof, trying to fly.
11. Hold their hand and whisper to them, "I see dead
people."
12. At everything they say yell, "Liar."
13. Try to swim in the floor.
14. Tap on their door all night


Quotes from real teens
"Last night I was looking at the stars and I wondered...
where the heck is my ceiling?"


"Never miss a good opportunity to shut the heck up!"


"They say to reach for the moon, even if you miss, you'll
land among the stars. Do they not know the laws of gravity?
If you miss, you'll come crashing back to earth..."


Chon Saan Palace

Kelly Street, Belize City

The most famous and most frequently visited of all Chinese restaurants
in town, Chon Saan does not disappoint. Apart from the usual Chinese fare,
they have an extensive menu of more adventurous items in addition to
Japanese food such as sushi. I must say that their Beef in Black Bean sauce
is extraordinary. As is their unique and truly amazing Singapore Style Curry

Chow Mein. If you are in the mood for something lighter, their Hot and Sour
Soup and Roast Pork Fried Rice are excellent. And the kids will love the
crabs, fish and lobsters in the tanks...just don't tell them that they are actu-

ally for eating! And the waiters, the most pleasant in town. Mi done talk!!!!!!
$6 and up. Open Daily, Lunch & Dinner
L.^


4


I I-- mt tor ('Ood tood 1







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 151


Social PaIgo


1A 'i FU IIL1
Fr. Smalls of Our Lady of the Way Church, kisses the ring of newly installed Bishop of
Belize, Dorrick Wright at ordination ceremonies at SJC on January 20th.


Dis DI Fu We addiction


Senior Minister Emeritus George Price joins Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno
Rodriguez Parilla in a toast.



Citizen Oversigh l


University of Belize students got ales-
son in "Citizen Oversight: Promoting
Ethical Conduct in Government" on
January 25' at their Belmopan campus.
Guest speaker was Ken Kellner, Se-
nior Counsel in the United States House
Committee on Standards of Conduct.
Kellner, who also lectures at
Georgetown University in Washington
D.C. in administrative law for parale-
gals, has extensive experience investi-
gating cases of alleged misconduct by
Members of Congress and staff.
He also served with the US Depart-
ment of Justice Environment and Natu-
ral Resources Division representing the
US government on federal courts in ad-
ministrative and environmental law
cases involving endangered species.
According to the U. S. Embassy, dur-
ing his three day visit, he met with gov-
ernment officials, business leaders, stu-


in l(Continued From Page 2)
serious charges by an administrative
agency and the police. This law firm,
Firm X, had represented this individual
over the course of several months, and
consequently, had much confidential in-
formation about the matter in their files
and in the heads of their attorneys. The
administrative agency issuing the charges
decided it wanted to be represented by
Firm X. Firm X accepted the govern-
ment representation and told its client,
the individual about whom it had all sorts
of confidential information, that Firm X
was giving up its representation of him


^--Mi(Continued From Page 13)
berArchies on Euphrates before going
clubbing downstairs at Scruples.
But enough nostalgia, thisthing might not
just be my problem but a national trend.
The slow, greasy sliding away office and
beans and chicken and salad as the na-
tional dish. The death of Meegan beans
and the rise of Friendship Fried Chicken.
The raising of the collective cholesterol
level and de-creolization of our cultural
consciousness. Ahhhgh! Enough.
I am home. Safe and sound and satis-


fied. No one will ever know.
Suddenly a car pulls up next to me as I
get out. One of my neighbors, looking har-
ried yet determined. "You just coming in
too? I ask.
"Yes, I ah,just run datown fi sonting,"
he mumbles evasively.
"Oh, okay, well goodnight." Itell him.
I didn't tell him he had catsup on his
chin.
Guess I am not the only one.
But tomorrow, its veggies and steamed
rice. Imeanitthistime. Really.


Cuban Deputy Foreign


Minister visits Belize


Ken Kellner
dents, and other members of civil soci-
ety to discuss the importance of ethical
behavior in elected officials.
Kellner's visit was co-sponsored by
the U. S. Embassy and the University of
Belize.


- and then took the administrative
agency on as a client in the same mat-
ter!!!!!!
This is one ofthe most egregious con-
flicts of interest I have ever seen.
Heads should have rolled, followed
by a number of disbarments by the Bar
Association. I tried to get the individual
to bring a malpractice action against the
law firm, but he wouldn't, and even if
he had been willing, I'm not at all cer-
tain that he could have gotten any com-
petent attorney to represent him.
Signed,
Mary Toy


Belize City, January 24, 2007.
On the occasion of the III Meeting
of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Cu-
ban First Deputy Foreign Minister
Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla paid an
official visit to Belize between
January 23rd and 24. During his
presence in Belize Minister
Rodriguez paid a courtesy call to
Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Primer Min-
ister and Minister of Finance and
Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of
Education, Labor and Attorney
General.
The meeting was considered a
fruitful opportunity to exchange
ideas on the bilateral relation and
international issues, particularly
now when Cuba is the President of
the Non-Alignment Movement and
Belize of SICA.
As part of the program, both
countries signed a health agreement
that will improve the level of coop-
eration between Belize and Cuba
in this area.


Minister Rodriguez stated that "the
relations between Cuba and Belize
are a model of a new set of interna-
tional relations, with emphasis in
cooperation and solidarity". On
signing the agreement the Cuban of-
ficial said that it "would be very ben-
eficial to improve and expand the
health services provide by the Cu-
ban medical brigade rendering ser-
vices in all districts of Belize".
The Embassy of Cuba hosted a
cocktail where the Cuban delega-
tion socialized with representatives
of the Government and Belize soci-
ety. Among them, the Cuban offi-
cial had the honor to meet with Fa-
ther of the Nation George C. Price.
The Cuban delegation was com-
posed by Ambassador Rogelio Si-
erra, Chief of the Latin American Di-
vision at the Ministry of Foreign
Relations of Cuba, H.E. Eugenio
Martinez, Ambassador to Belize and
Omar Pereira, Advisor to the
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.







Friday, February 2, 2007 The INdependent Reformer Page 16i


BAM


PUSS


- iEg(Continued From Page 1)
lower ranking civil servants and teachers
(those without permission to sign vouchers
atthe gas stations) retirees, pensioners, single
mothers, and the tourism sector.
Sirs, there is no hope for meaningful de-
velopment when taxes on energy approach
300% or three times acquisition cost to the
people ofBelize. You knowitandwe know
it.Andsoontheoutsideworldwillknowwhat
theBelizeangovemmentisupto.
Bearwithme aslworkthrough some re-
lated developments inthe hemisphere, asitis
unfoldingbeforetheOrganization ofAmeri-
can States. We must start paying closer at-
tention to the developments at the OAS as
many decisions there will continue to affect
you,theBelizeanreaderpersonally, andthe
country as whole.
OfficiousBelizewillbepailidpatingshortly
in the General Assembly (GA) ofthe OAS
in Panama in June, 2007. The theme forthe
GAwillbe"EnergyforDevelopmenft". The
draft declaration, which we've seen, says:
ALL MEMBER STATES MUST BE-
COMEAWARE(ofthetheme)ANDACT
ON THIS CONCERN IN A TIMELY
MANNER". Visitwww.oas.org(itsin Span-
ish, English, French, andPortuguese)
Last week, Panama's Ambassador/Per-
manentRepresentativetothe OAS, HisEx-
cellencyAristidesRoyo, submittedtheDraft
Declaration ofPanama entitled "Energy for
Development"'for consideration by thePre-
paratory Committee ofthe General Assem-
bly. He said the initiative represents his
government's effort to acknowledge the
majorconcemsofcountriesregardingthees-
calating energy problem in the hemisphere.
Royo warned, "All ourmember states must
become aware and act on this concern in a
timelymanner."
The way it works at the OAS is which-
ever country is chosen to hostthe next GA,
sets the theme of that GA. And, basically,
after consultations and atthe end ofthe GA,
there is a declaration ofthat chosen country
encapsulatingthetenetsofthetheme. Sothere
will be aDeclaration ofPanamathatall coun-
tries will accede to. Declarations have no
teeth, persey, buttryto setan"ubuntu-ized"
(general consensus) tone forth work ofthe
organizationforthenextyear.
Anyway, the soontobe finalized draft, in
the preparatory committee thatRoyo chairs,
warns that high energy costs are putting a
severe financial constraint on resources the
countries oftheAmericas need fortheir de-


TAX


velopmentprograms.
The Panamanians argue that economic
development and environmental conserva-
tion are complementary and form an integral
part of the basic goals of the OAS. They
also accentuatepublic-private sector alliances
asvital tothe promotion ofthe energy sector
agenda in the hemisphere, and touch on the


effects of climate change and the need for
research, promotion, development and in-
creaseduse ofrenewable energy forms. The
OAS Department of SustainableDevelop-
ment is providing the working group andthe
Panamanian delegation with technical sup-
port.
What the documents don't reflect are the
reasons for the high costs of energy. The
MostHonorablePanamanianAmbassador
to the OAS, as chair of the Preparatory
Committee ofthe 2007 OAS/GA, needsto
be sensitized to the excessive taxes, con-
sumption taxes that hit the poorthe hardest.
You cannot reachthose lofty millennium de-
velopment goals, Mr. Ambassador, unless
youcollectivelybackofffiomtaxingthepoor
ofthis hemisphere, in such brutal manner
with all these consumption taxes. It is inhu-
mane and dastardly, really. They don't pun-
ish governments, they do the opposite: they
punish thepoor.
And, whatwill be Belize's excuse fortax-
ingthe poor in excess of two and halftimes
of costs in fuel taxes when they get to the GA


in Panama? You really would not want to
know. Trust me. NorthAmericans complain
when gasoline gets above US$ 2 a gallon.
Well, Belizeans are paying almost US$ 5
gallon, in spite ofPresident Chavez's largesse
supposedly to the Government ofBelize.
We, the working class people ofBelize,
pay two and a half times what you pay,
America, (and make fivetimes less ayearin
salary) thousand times what Venezuelans
pay, and we are really getting tired of this
abusive arrangement. Mr Chavez needs to
understand, ifhe doesn't already know, that
his foreign policy petro-diplomacy efforts are
hurting us in Belize when he props up this
morally,finandally,andethicallybanuptgov-
emmenthere.
AuthoritarianRuleby decreeisnotforus,
Sir. Please leave us with what's left of our
common lawtraditions to sort out our own
mess. Keep your fuel, its not helping us. At
least notrightnow.
Ed Note: the author served two sepa-
rate i ,i at t1he OAS yearss cumulative)
under four Belizean Ambassadors.


Whether acquisition costs jump high, jump low, GOB just pumps us some more.


Vision Inspired by the People

1 Cardinal Street, Belmopan
Tel: 802-2926
e-mail: info@vip.org.bz
http://www.vip.org.bz "Stand Up, Save Belize"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As Belizeans we are each responsible for the welfare of our beloved country. Your
participation in building Belize is therefore a civic and patriotic obligation.

VIP through this survey gives you the opportunity to input into the planning of our
country's future by sharing your inspired vision and commitment.

Your response will be treated with the highest confidentiality and any published results
will be aggregated in order to reflect only collective opinions.

Please write your answers and return it to us by post or electronic mail using our
contact information above. Every idea is important to us. Please feel free to also call
our office.


Questions: To make Belize a better country to live, work and

play:


1. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE THREE PRIORITY AREAS THAT THE
NEXT GOVERNMENT MUST FIX?

2. WHAT SUGGESTIONS CAN YOU OFFER TO FIX THESE
PROBLEMS?

3. WHAT COMMITMENT AND SACRIFICE ARE YOU WILLING TO
MAKE TO HELP FIX THE PROBLEM?

"VISION WITHOUT ACTION IS ONLYAN ILLUSION"
We thank you for acting now to SAVE BELIZE!




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